Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Question

Now, I am sure at least some of you guys that read this are programmers, and since it was asked of me in an interview I would like to hear what you guys would respond with. The question was, "What is the most innovative or creative idea you have ever programmed?" Now let me explain my answer and thought process.

In Fallout 3 I did a number of very interesting ideas, I implemented an Oblivion-esque magic system, however this was not terribly innovative since all it called for was a global value for the current mana levels, a slight rework of the wait/fast-travel system for that time to count towards mana regeneration, and spells were basically explosion effects with an invisible projectile.

So I did not use this, my second thought for an answer was my, not working terribly well, RTS system. Due to the limitations of the engine I never got it properly working as it crashed after a certain point due to memeory usage, usually when you had a sizable base. But it did offer the ability to build your own base from scratch, raise an army and use a squad based combat system for fighting larger battles.

The final idea, and the one I answered with was a single weapon I made for Fallout 3 with interesting physics effects, called the Railway Rifle X-treme, something anyone who has played my mod is familiar with. Now I presented this with the basis behind its working for its innovation, as it technically fired a projectile that moved 4 lightyears in distance every in game second. Since no engine could actually allow that and trying to make it function would make a physics engine programmer cry I used a work-around. I built a make-shift hitscan function, and when this function started the entire game froze at its time giving a temporal distortion effect for realism and allowing all processor usage in computing. Now this function created the projectile technically already inside whatever it hit, so before the gun had fired the projectile had already hit its target, and when the game restarted the projectile left the weapon and moved to the already in place hit. However, it also had its faults in that you had to hit something. If you missed everything (firing into the sky) then the hitscan function could never find where to place the projectile, so the game restarted and the firing scripts couldn't find the ending location causing the game to use the built-in bullet functions which could not handle the projectile speed causing the game to crash.

Now my question is two part, first is whether or not you think I made the right choice of the three and the second is to include what you would have answered with, I am curious.

~The Lurker

Friday, March 25, 2011

Heroes of Newerth 2.0.21

First of all, Sorry for not updating very much this week I was really looking forward to hear you guys responses on what I have going for the classes, but alas I have spent most of my time job searching. Don't worry though, hopefully I should be back on track with posting soon, I may squeeze out a bunch of updates this weekend. On to more fun news, another Heroes of Newerth patch and a new hero to boot.

The majority of the patch was bug fixes so I will not go over them, here is a link though But who cares about any of that stuff, we got ourselves a new hero.

His name be Tremble and by god if it isn't a new and improved Broodmother from DotA. Hellbourne Agility hero Tremble with an amazing 310 base movespeed.
Hon Hero Spotlight:

Dark Swarm:
Type: Magic
Radius: 300
Mana Cost: 90 / 100 / 110 / 120
Cooldown: 12.0 Seconds
Required Level: 1 / 3 / 5 / 7
Summons a swarm of bugs for 5 seconds. Enemies within the swarm take 20 / 40 / 60 / 80 Magic Damage per second, while enemies outside the swarm deal 8 / 16 / 24 / 32% less damage to Tremble.

Create and tunnel through Terror Mounds. Terror Mounds grant Invisibility with a 2 second Fade Time, {15,20,25,30}% Move Speed, and {2,4,6,8} Health Regeneration. Also gain the ability to Terror Port every {120,100,80,60} seconds between Mounds.\n\nMaximum of {3,5,7,9} Terror Mounds.

On Attack
Applies Impalers to target for 2 seconds.
Impalers grant 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 bonus Magic Damage and 5 / 10 / 15 / 20 HP heal on inflict.
10 / 20 / 30 / 40% Movement Slow

Cast Time: 1.0 Seconds
Mana Cost: 140
Cooldown: 90.0 / 75.0 / 60.0 Seconds
Required Level: 6 / 11 / 16
Summon Shudder at your location. If Shudder is already summoned, kills the previous Shudder and resummons it.

Shudder has 50 / 75 / 100 Attack Damage, 800 / 1100 / 1400 HP, 350 / 375 / 400 Movement Speed, and 1 / 1.5 / 2 second Ensnare. His Razor Carapace grants 10 / 20 / 30 Deflection and {-2,-4,-6} Armor on attack.

He has access to the same level of Terror Form and Impalers as Tremble.

This guy has everything, he can gank well and control runes through just one level of terrorform and with impalers has excellent chasing ability. He is definitely built to have the ability to carry, and comes with some survival and healing from abilities which is nice. Most interesting is his ability to counter pushes by porting back to base. I definitely am interested in how things pan out and how the community uses him. But my recommended carry build as I shall give for every hero, is: Ghost Marchers cause that wonderful no clip - Battlefury to help farm and mana regen - not straight, probably last item to finish Symbol of Rage for the extra lifesteal - Wingbow for some damage and attack speed - Brutalizer for disabling - and Rift shards for the damage. Good luck with 'em everyone. And one last tidbit is some music I stumbled upon, Abney Park try it out.

~The Lurker

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Programming update

Well, it is time that I start to code the player abilities, since most of my time has been spent on the RTS element. Dynamic trading and economy also kept me working for quite a long time, but I feel that those are going along well so I am looking for opinions on the player capabilities within the game. Now there are 4 classes for your hero, the rogue, the archer, the wizard, and the warrior. Later this week I will post about specific abilities and ask for your opinions on that, but right now I want to pitch an idea about just general player management.

The Player Leveling System:

First, the player starts at level 1 and the maximum level is 26, where at each level including the first the player is allowed to choose an ability. However, since there are only 26 abilities for each class you can not choose any at any level. For levels 1-5 there are 5 abilities but by level 5 you will have all, and they continue in 5 level brackets to 25, and at 26 you get the major end all be all ability for your Lord.

Experience is fairly standard, especially since I haven't put much thought into it, you gain experience by doing actions: trading, building, combat.

Skills. The one main point that I wanted to draw attention to and ask about is not the choice of skills system, although feedback is still more than welcome about that. You get 26 skills/abilities and each of these abilities will be scalable. As you use certain abilities like shield slam or fireball you get better, so up to a point of mastery their effectiveness would increase, more damage, less energy to use. So that while your abilities are preset you get the choice in character of which abilities you focus on to define your Lord.

Please, any and all feedback and remember I will go over specific abilities later this week.

~The Lurker

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Portal 2 New Trailer

We got a new Portal 2 Trailer coming out. From the looks of it it should be the starting cutscene for the Co-Op mode within the game. For anyone that hasn't played the first Portal I shall openly state it is the best game ever produced and you HAVE to go play it immediately.

Portal 2 is supposed to contain all the same elements of portal physics from the first game, but add a lot of new mechanics. One of the more interesting was slick slime jets that can coat a surface on the other end of the portal causing you to accelerate impressively. For all of those that did play Portal, which should be all of you, I am sure you have the same worries as I do. Portal was a game of such magnitude that it really challenges the developer to make a good sequel. If they change too much the fans won't like the differences, saying it is not the good ol' Portal they remember. However, if they don't change it enough players will say its just a remake with nothing new to offer and hate it for that. This conundrum leaves Valve in a very precarious place and I sincerely hope that they can get a perfect balance to make Portal 2 even better than the first.

~The Lurker

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sins of a Solar Empire

I know that its kinda out of nowhere, but for some reason I really felt the want to play it. For those of you who don't know the game Sins of a Solar Empire is an epicly scaled space RTS. It does have multiplayer but my experiences were cut short as our LAN connection couldn't take the data. It features only skirmishes, no campaign, with up to 10 players each controlling one of three races. The TEC, the Advent, and the Vasari.

The TEC: or Trader Emergency Coalition are the humans of the game. When it comes to skirmishes their technology boosts their mining and trade higher than Advent or Vasari so while they can't stand in open conflict they are able to marshal ships faster and in greater number.

Advent: Are a highly spiritual race that was focused on culture and knowledge. However their knowledge was spent on non-military methods so their weapons of warfare do not surpass the Vasari, but does offer them a level playing ground. Psi-Tech and psionic abilities are completely normal among the population and gameplay focuses on spreading your culture to offer you bonuses even when attacking enemies systems.

Vasari: The Vasari Empire was bent on complete domination of the universe and was succeeding up to a point. They were driven from their home systems by a mysterious force that follows them forever, and even with the loss of the majority of their fleet and resources, their military technology vastly surpasses that of the TEC and Advent giving them the major combat bonus when engaged in open combat in skirmishes.

Game-Play: Actual game play is really good, you have the distinction between capital ships and frigates, capital ships are self explanatory and offer many purposes and the back bone of your fleet. Frigates can also fulfill almost any job and be far greater in number, 16 capital ships and 120 of the best frigates with max population, but are nowhere near as effective and lack the ability to gain experience. The point of the game is to take over the universe, and these universes can be pre-built small universes or custom made maps containing over one thousand different systems to conquer which means games can go very long. Each side goes about conquering in a different manner, the TEC use economics to out produce others, the Advent culturally assimilate you from the safety of their colonies, and the Vasari just march a fleet through the other's front lines.

Overall the game is superb, and I recommend that any RTS fan buys it as it is certainly a great game

~The Lurker

Monday, March 14, 2011

Some kinda late Heroes of Newerth stuff

Well as I found out yesterday night Heroes of Newerth did another patch while I was busy playing Poke'mon.

Patch Notes in full:

Well the new unicorn rampage alt-avatar has me a bit worried, as people that don't play rampage properly end up feeding badly with horrible charges. So the resulting buying/playing will be painful for a couple days.

Aluna: Got some major buffs here, her deja vu skill that was supposed to be her escape should actually be somewhat useful now with the unit walking and slow always attached instead of just after an emerald red. But more importantly she doesn't spend all her charges at once, only one at a time. Now this is going to make her even more mana dependent which could hurt her be forcing her to get more regen instead of straight damage, but allows her to use her abilities more effectively and not waste ulti charges.

Some nerfs to Myrmidon which could be useful, as his double stun combo was extremely effective.

A lot of orb effects no longer propagate to illusions and that is a major change. Geometer's bane is no longer as useful without the extra instances of attack modifiers it gives but more importantly that is a major nerf to my favorite hero sand wraith. His late game damage came from his illusions and without the attack modifiers for slows they just won't have the same damage uptime from a running enemy, and while this more refers to pubs it will be harder to trick unobservant enemies into using their CC on an illusions before porting as it won't apply a slow effect.

Other than that there has just been a bunch of optimization for how the game runs so hopefully that should make a noticeable difference in the servers especially if it is optimizing how they are sending/receiving data packets.

~ The Lurker

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Well, I am pretty sure at this point within the Nintendo franchise every web comic and blogger is essentially required to post something about the new Poke'mon game, so here it goes. Now since I played Poke'mon all the way from the start I fell in love with the original 250 Poke'mon. Yes 250 since the first episode that was in development for the show was made while the game was featured Ho-Oh a legendary from Gold/Silver. Well that aside, my party is of course comprised of 6 Poke'mon from those and I see nothing I like really in the new Poke'mon. In fact most of them seem to be bad rehashes of older Poke'mon. So I went and grabbed Black earlier today and decided that I would just do a Nuzlock challenge until I beat the Elite 4 of this game then transfer over my old favorite party. Feel free to post your opinions on the new game and your favorite Poke-Party below, would love to hear what you guys think of it.

~The Lurker

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Opening cutscene(requires imagination)

Now, since my game which really needs a name, I might think of some ideas soon and put up a poll or something. Is still in its very early stages, as I am still working on core mechanics and the GUI, it is not really all that pretty right now, they are almost all still placeholder 30 second polygon jumbles. However, I still was able to finish the scripting required for the opening cut-scene. Now here is where the imagination comes into play, and remember this is medieval fantasy we are talking about here:

Fading in you see your lord, which hopefully will be player designed instead of stock, in his bed with the advisor sitting on a chair next to him. With your lord slowly waking, "My liege, finally you are awake. You have been asleep for quite some time now, I told you that you shouldn't have ventured to the south."

You sit up in your bed, staring intently at your advisor as he calls in food and drink for you. "Quickly now, you must regain your strength as the world has gone to hell while you were asleep."

Pan over dead and dying settlers in a small village "The plagues in the south-west have been growing rapidly." Change scene to a large tower locked behind walls. "The Wizards guild has shut itself in from the world." Now a picture of trade caravans "The Vaisseau trading company has completely taken over all trade." Final pan of a battlefield where two large armies are fighting, "And the wars have grown more rabid."

And finally back to the lord and advisor in the bedroom, "We are stuck in the middle of all of this and can only hide for so long before it reaches us. Something must be done, we need to secure ourselves as a part of the world. There is plenty to do my liege, the choice is yours." and fade out.

Tell me what you think, I would post a fraps of the cut-scene, but as I said still using place-holder models and I even lack music so just giving you a script of what it does and says is all I can offer.

~The Lurker

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Well my Mid-terms for this semester are finally done so I can get back to posting regularly. They went fairly well, had to present preliminary stuff for a project in my game design class but you guys really don't want to hear about this sort of stuff. Well I have another cast up on you-tube, loaded it a while ago actually, but never got to posting about it here so the link follows:

Actually really late on this train thanks to mid-terms, but Skyrim trailer is awesome. Been waiting for the next elder scrolls game for a long time, and from the video you can see just how heavily they modified the Gamebyro engine to their own uses. I mean yeah they said that they made some changes but that is incredible. I am, just like I'm sure many other Elder Scrolls fans are, now replaying Oblivion and Morrowind before Skyrim comes out. If anyone has any good mods for Oblivion they would want to point to feel free in the comments, already got a good selection but always willing to try more.

I have a lot more to post on and will do so later, cuanta vida.

~ The Lurker